The following letter was sent today to the MNBC Board of Directors…
Dear MNBC Board Members,
I am writing this letter to both request an updated progress report including 2nd and 3rd quarter financial statements for the 2011-2012 fiscal year (as I know that the 4th quarter will not be available yet) and to pose some very relevant questions regarding the MNBC’s progress as it pertains to the fiscal goals of the MNBC Debt Recovery Plan (DRP).
The BC Métis Federation has thoroughly reviewed the MNBC 1st quarter report and the April 2011 Update as posted on the MNBC website. As I am sure that you are aware, the 1st quarter report is extremely misleading in its claims of success. The MNBC reported that the 1st quarter Operational Deficit had been reduced from $90, 504 in the first quarter of 2010 to $19, 233 in the first quarter of 2011. Although one might assume this is accurate based on the information that MNBC provided, upon closer review, the saving were made by spending essentially no money on furthering Métis citizenship and Registry (a disservice to the Métis people) and through a Staff Salaries and Benefits Savings which you achieved through eliminating ALL short term disabilities AND having all staff members contribute 20 percent of their salaries to the benefits package. Example number two of how debt recovery can be easily achieved by providing a disservice to our own working Métis people. Moreover, the savings to the Staff Salaries and benefits were only $29,642, so please help us to understand how that savings could be so low when the MNBC totally eliminated two key, high paying positions (Chief Executive Officer ‘CEO’& Chief Operating Officer ‘COO’ ) AND charged the employees 20 percent whilst totally cutting short term disabilities. Should the numbers not accurately reflect all of these changes or were the CEO and COO working free of charge before they were removed from their positions?
The questions surrounding the lack of clarity on the employee salaries and benefits pale by comparison to those of the MNBC Board of Directors “budget line”. One cannot help but notice the greatest travesty of the 1st quarter report: The MNBC Board of Directors salaries were reduced from $79,340 to $78,748 saving a grand total of $592.00. With all due respect, how do you justify this? You will dismiss your own people from their positions, put a strain on those already making low salaries compared to the ever rising cost of living; yet continue to put yourselves, the MNBC Board beyond reproach and answerable to no one. Your own balance sheet says it all, you have no respect for the positions that you hold or loyalty to the people you are meant to humbly serve – the Métis people have given you opportunity after opportunity to redeem yourselves and the MNBC as a body that operates in the best interests of the Métis people, and yet, you have failed all of us, once again with your blatant disregard for ethics. Thank you however for your transparency, so that at least we are all aware that the MNBC Board of Directors continues to serve themselves before all others. Based on your own publications, you have at least given the Métis people of British Columbia the opportunity to see it for themselves in writing.
There are many other discrepancies and misleading claims of “progress” in the first quarter report of the DRP, such as the “installation” of version 6.0 of the ACCPAC accounting system. Please don’t insult the intelligence of the Métis people, this is not a “reportable success” this is a simple office administrative duty which is necessary and accomplished by almost any functioning business in the country in order to record account payables and receivables. The installation of ACCPAC will not curb the overspending of the Board, garnish MNBC Board salaries or generate a new source of revenue. This is but one of MNBC’s published examples of how very little was actually accomplished or implemented in order to fulfill the “overall road map to our zero-deficit destination” as quoted directly from MNBC’s own documents.
The Métis people can demise from the MNBC’s first quarter report and the lack of distribution or transparency of any reports since April 2011 (one full year later) that in spite of over expenditure on travel in the first quarter, “as a result of board travel required to undertake DRP-related work and day-to-day business of the MNBC.” , the DRP was not successfully implemented and that the “zero-deficit destination” was far from reached. In fact, it has been reported that not only was MNBC not able to pay off its grandiose debt but to add insult to injury, the MNBC has further indebted the Métis people by overspending by yet another million dollars. This means another million dollars that will not go to programs and services, another million dollars that the Métis communities will never be able to utilize to keep their culture alive, another million dollars that could help our Métis children and families so that youth can be educated, language preserved and most importantly; allow the Métis people to decide what is important and how a million dollars should be spent. Shall one assume that the Métis people should simply be at peace with the knowledge that at least those they entrusted to take care of the best interests of the Métis community received their paycheques. And for those longstanding Board members that stepped down in September 2011 as the DRP was being implemented, do we thank them for not partaking in the overspending another million dollars?
The BCMF, on behalf of many concerned Métis citizens respectfully requests that the MNBC Board of Directors explain publicly in whatever manner it chooses how the government funded Debt Recovery Plan could go so wrong that the MNBC recently verbalized at their Métis Nation Governing Assembly that the end of the 2011-2012 fiscal year could realize a further deficit of $1,000,000. Based on some simple calculations this means that the MNBC on behalf of the Métis people of British Columbia now carry a debt of approximately $4 million dollars. What went wrong? As the claimed representatives of the Métis people, you owe each and every one of them an answer. But please, before the MNBC claims that the sale of the Simpson Road Property will “alleviate all fiscal debt” as it is valued at $6, 040,000 (as per MNBC’s report), remember that the Métis people are already asking themselves, “If it is so easy, why haven’t you done it?”
Now, following putting the Simpson Road Property on the market, the only honest and accountable action that the MNBC could undertake at this point, is the release of the financial reports including “consolidated statements of financial position and consolidated statements of revenues and expenditures statements” as produced by the MNBC’s “new and improved” standard budget template and the upgraded ACCPAC system (as reported in the MNBC’s Progress on Administrative Track Objectives). Please don’t deny the Métis people the answers they deserve or try to use the excuse that the “general public” can’t understand the accounting system. Regardless of one’s educational background, the majority of individuals know the difference between a (+) sign and a (-) sign and they also know the difference between right and wrong, such as continuing to restructure and eliminate Métis jobs whilst maintaining a Board of Directors in a lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.
The BCMF sincerely regrets that the MNBC has put the Métis people in this predicament. The BCMF Board of Directors made numerous attempts to reach out to MNBC to implement a debt recovery plan (under the Coalition for Concerned Métis Citizens), to engage in negotiations and to problem solve as a team. MNBC chose to refuse our requests to open dialogue, spoke with ill will regarding our newly formed organization or simply did not acknowledge the BCMF’s existence. How much further down is MNBC willing to take the Métis people before graciously exiting the arena?
As the BCMF is aware that a realistic debt recovery plan for the 2012-2013 fiscal year is premature, the BCMF patiently awaits the MNBC’s 2012-2013 Financial Statement to see the true gravity of the further financial demise. If you have any questions for our organization, please feel free to contact myself.
British Columbia Métis Federation